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AWS features draw attention, praise and jeers

SearchAWS covers all Amazon Web Services developments with insight from experts, analysts and cloud users. These five AWS news stories were most popular among IT pros in early 2016.

AWS has evolved at a blistering pace over the last 10 years, sometimes leaving IT developers scrambling to keep up with new AWS features. Each new product release or update deepens the IT landscape for enterprises, but they also come with caveats.

Not all AWS features are available in all regions and not all services are available immediately after they're announced. However, curiosity still holds weight in the cloud community, with IT professionals -- engineers, administrators and developers alike -- closely monitoring AWS cloud developments. This is evident in the ballooning popularity of AWS re:Invent, which reaches a deeper audience (and sells out) each year.

These five news stories were particularly popular on SearchAWS in 2016, spanning present and future AWS product releases and company news.

AWS users still waiting for Amazon EFS

AWS offers several ways to gather knowledge of its cloud, including five certification options. However, while those certifications could get you a foot in the door, some experts believe they are overvalued.

Las Vegas is sacred ground for AWS' annual re:Invent conference, and the cloud provider, fittingly, tries to up the ante with each passing year. Two keynote addresses highlight the week-long event which unveils new AWS features and products.

Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) was announced at re:Invent in 2015. The service purports to allow developers to create and configure file systems in the cloud with, as its name suggests, elastic storage capacity. But the project has been met with disapproval from its beta customers and EFS failed to escape preview status until June. A mix of curiosity and disenchantment makes this our most popular story of 2016.

After one decade of AWS, what's next?

AWS celebrated its 10th birthday in March, with its Simple Storage Service and Elastic Compute Cloud offerings first having been offered in 2006. Those services are staples of many cloud deployments a decade later and help AWS pull away from the cloud provider pack.

But, as AWS approaches its next decade of services, it faces more pressure than it did before. In addition to meeting the diverse needs of more than one million customers, AWS needs to fend off competitors in an evolving cloud market. With big-name customers like Apple and Dropbox moving some of their workloads off AWS, and Spotify turning to Google Cloud Platform for platform infrastructure, simply maintaining its current customer base could prove challenging enough in the interim.

AWS expands to five new regions

Governments across the globe are weighing privacy against national security, as data encryption is available to any individual with a smartphone. Data sovereignty laws are on the radar of many businesses that need to maintain compliance with customers and clients.

So when AWS announced its data center expansion into five new regions -- four international and one domestic -- the discussion naturally turned to data protection. SearchAWS provides some background on recent global regulations, while also explaining AWS' rationale for its chosen markets.

AWS certifications not all they're cracked up to be

Jobs, jobs everywhere, and IT professionals specializing in a particular cloud technology will find openings suited to their strengths. IT pros either just getting started in the workforce or new to the cloud might find a tougher road ahead.

But the cloud jobs market is a vibrant one and AWS skills are in high demand. AWS' thorough partner network has increased jobs across all aspects of the IT spectrum, from consultants to developers. AWS offers several ways to gather knowledge of its cloud, including five certification options. However, while those certifications could get your foot in the door, some experts believe they are overvalued.

Amazon offers free SSL certificates, but trust is needed

The free tier of AWS features might be outside the reach of businesses deploying heavy cloud workloads. But cost management is important to AWS shops big and small, and efficient cloud operations place a microscope over their resources to find every last fault.

So, when AWS announced that Amazon Trust Services will provide free SSL certificates, enterprises took notice. We explore the difficulties surrounding personnel maintaining updated certificates as well as the heavy price tag some enterprises pay for SSL certificates. Particularly paranoid AWS customers, however, might want to consider the trust it places in the cloud provider for the service.

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This was last published in June 2016

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What has surprised you the most from AWS this year?
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Only slightly tongue in check - the release of EFS. Finally.
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EFS released just after we published this story...what timing, huh? We've updated that section above to reflect that change.
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Murphy’s law never fails.
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